Sticky Science

How to keep cakes from sticking

Prepping a Cake Pan
Michael Hoeweler

Why prep your cake pan? We asked Shirley O. Corriher, author of Bake Wise (Scribner, 2008), to give us the science behind greasing and flouring.

When you put a cake in the oven, Corriher said, the heat unravels the batter's proteins and then coagulates them over time. In an untreated pan, they stick to surfaces like glue. Greasing puts a barrier between the batter and pan, so that the proteins form in a solid mass without latching onto other surfaces. Flouring protects the fat from dissolving into the batter. Another step is to use a baking stone: It will heat the cake pan quickly, hastening protein coagulation and helping to prevent sticking.